MEET THE FREEDOM SCHOOL TEAM: Dominique Nelson

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Meet Dominique N.

Senior//Liberty University//Servant Leader Intern

Full Name

Dominique Nelson

Rap Name

***Queue an instrumental for ‘Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting.’*** From this day forward, please refer to me only as the “Respected Ninja.” HHAAAIIIIIIYYYAAAAA!!!

City of Birth

I was born in the sunny college town that bleeds FAMU’s green and orange and FSU’s gold and garnet, TALLAHASSEE aka Talla-Nasty (kindly coined by the “lovely” students of the University of Miami) aka Talla-AWESOME (created by yours truly )

Favorite Food to Cook

Anything that I can make within 10 to 15 minutes (slightly joking). I have enjoyed making (and subsequently devouring) Salmon Tacos with homemade guac and salsa! 

Least Favorite Snack

They say that your taste buds alter every 7 years, however mine beg to differ, as I still cannot manage to successfully chew and swallow a carrot.

The Last Song That Made You Cry

Frank Ocean’s “Night” knocked the air out of lungs and the tears from my eyes. There are several specific parts within the song where Ocean speaks so honestly about feelings of despair and unexpected turn of life events. It made me extremely sad to hear that he had experienced all of this, but I was saddened more by the fact that unending hardships are some peoples’ daily realities (and some more than others). And in this ‘eat or be eaten,’ ‘sink or swim’ world, people who are struggling dearly have no choice but to continue to strain forward despite financial, relational, career-related, or personal issues.

What Were You Like in Middle School?

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It honestly depended on the class and which accomplices, whoops, I mean fellow ‘peers’ were in that specific class. In eighth grade, I, along with several of my friends, had an unnatural obsession with our Algebra teacher. If I had to tell you what fascinated us about him, I don’t think I could give a clear answer other than he was quite fun to irritate and his reactions to our shenanigans could surely have been worthy of an Oscar. Anyways, I remember co-organizing a dance and rap song made specially for him that was to take place after school at Algebra tutoring.

After weeks of planning and rehearsing, the day had finally come upon us and it was almost showtime. We had even gone as far as to invite fellow teachers who had made plans to stay briefly after school to be our audience. Minutes before our performance, our teacher was nowhere to be found. He had slipped out of the room and left no trace of his whereabouts and gave no indication of his return. The show simply would not be complete without his presence, so an idea lit in my head to call the front desk and ask the secretary to make an announcement on the school’s intercom system to say that Mr. “G” was needed in his room immediately.

Long story short: He never came back sadly, but we still performed our overly rehearsed dance and ridiculously silly rap song. Those were the days…

Name of a Book/Story That Made An Impact On You When You Were Younger

The Series of the Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket was my first ever completed book series. Looking back, I don’t remember any specific parts that struck me about the plot or characters; but I do vividly remember the feelings I experienced while reading it—enraptured and consumed. That was when I realized that books plus your imagination are very powerful and can open your eyes to new world. 

Freedom Is…

…the place in which you are able to step out of stereotypes, norms, and external pressures and transcend into a realm where you are completely and fully known and can be your authentic self with all the quirks, flaws, passions, dreams, and everything else that makes you—YOU. Unfortunately, because we live in a world where justice and equality are not guaranteed to everyone and we face pressures by both external and internal forces to excel, achieve, and make a memorable mark regardless of the costs to our mental well-being, cultivating this type of space is difficult.

However, I’ve found when I am writing, hiking, weightlifting, or running there is a stillness, a sense of peace, and a sureness in the journey and not the final destination that constructs itself within me.

What Excites You About Our Freedom School Program?

What most excites me most about the Freedom School program is the opportunity to foster a collaborative learning environment. The learning process is never meant to be experienced alone, rather, there should be a community of curious learners who gather to share concepts from an array of perspectives. So I am looking forward to all the many discussions, the encouragement, the realizations, the debates, the shifting of perceptions, and the questions.

If you had a room full of people willing to listen to you, what would you say?

To this room, I would say that you are so uniquely made and there is no one in this world who has an identical mark as you. Just take a moment to think of the last time you scrolled through Instagram, there were probably three or more posts that had similar images or content. People have been devoured by trends in an attempt to seem “relevant” and “normal,” but sadly, this collective thought is ruining creativity, authenticity, and the adventure that life is supposed to be.

With that, you, my friend, were never intended to be #basic because you have a specific purpose, a distinct mission that only you can fulfill—so boldly go out to discover what that thing is that only has your name on it!